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Fri, Mar 29, 2024

Reliable Robotics Chosen for AFWERX Funding Increase

Next Phase to Continue Evaluation of RPA Caravan's Tech, Applicability to USAF Operations

Reliable Robotics has been selected for the USAF AFWERX Tactical Funding Increase Program, granting them additional funding in their efforts to "facilitate the delivery of strategic capabilities for the Department of the Air Force".

Reliable says it was "competitively chosen for the award from a large list of providers during the funding evaluation", but there may not have been too much competition given how mature, polished, and operable their remote-piloted Caravan is. Selection under the Funding Increase is accompanied by an SBIR Phase III contract, continuing the work they did under Phase II. Reliable Robotics has demo'd their RPA at AGILE FLAG and gained military airworthiness for operational missions with their C-208. Most interestingly is a somewhat underpublicized element of their contract where Reliable Robotics worked on a study to determine how applicable their tech would be to strategic, large logistical aircraft like the KC-135 Stratotanker. That project was shown back in October of 2023, and portends an interesting what-if of a fleet of RPA KC-135s. That study said that the Stratotanker could “readily accommodate” the required equipment “with only modest adjustments”. It’s funky stuff, and that’s exactly the kind of thing the Air Force created AFWERX for: Agile, off the wall applications of workable civilian tech.

"The TACFI Program is a valuable funding mechanism to bolster SBIR projects and its application to autonomy development unlocks significant product acceleration, maturation and demonstration of operationally relevant mission sets," said Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Ralston, Branch Chief over Autonomy Prime. His unit is overseeing most of the AFWERX entries under the autonomous or remotely-operated umbrella. "Autonomy is a key enabler for future military tactical air dominance and forward basing operations."

"TACFI funding is an important milestone signifying our autonomous flight system is moving forward toward operational implementation," said David O'Brien,  Senior VP of Government Solutions at Reliable Robotics. "Reliable is laser-focused on U.S. leadership in aviation and delivering the Air Force unrivaled automation capabilities for multiple aircraft types within existing inventory, in reduced crew, and crewless modes to defeat any threat, at any time, anywhere on earth."



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